Sick of Sarah show at Prophet Bar canceled

Queer rockers Sick of Sarah will not be performing this weekend, dangit. The all-female band was touring with Now, Now and Deas Vial as part of the Oh, Christmas tour which was set to stop in Dallas on Dec. 17 at the Prophet Bar. “I guess no show,” said SOS publicist Jim Merlis when he learned that their tour van died and had to cancel the rest of this tour, according to the venue’s site.

Ouch.

This sucks because Sick of Sarah is pretty bad ass on stage. I’ve seen them before at Sue’s and they kinda melt your face off. In a good way. How apropos that I post their “Bittersweet” video below.

—  Rich Lopez

Defining Homes: Need an intervention?

Believe it or not, some gay couples do not have that fabulous design gene in them. And if they are trying to move out of one house and into another, that lack of genetics will bite them in the rear. Do you fall into that category? Well, you may just have an out.

Not only has HGTV’s Real Estate Intervention been revamped with new host Cora Sue Anthony, the show is on the lookout for applicants to be part of their show — or really, in need of their intervention to turn that house around and sell it.

“We are looking for all kinds of homeowners,” publicist Avelino Pombo says. “We love to feature diversity and not only would we want to feature same-sex couples, but any other family that represents America. Whether it’s a family of six, a blended family or even a “modern family.” We want to see it all on the show.”

Although the show has collected all the submissions for this new season, Pombo urges couples to apply. After reviewing the applicants, the network will offer the top four in Dallas a much-needed design step in.

“We’ll definitely return to Dallas for another season because the city gets lots of real estate exposure,” Pombo says. “With the new talent, newer edge and more design, Dallas is a prime place for the show.”

Whether all you need is a decluttering or a paint job, or something major like a stunning bathroom or a brighter kitchen, Anthony and the rest of the Real Estate Intervention crew can help out. You may not even want to move after they are done.

And LGBT families and couples will have to come out of that design closet if they aren’t matching the throw pillows to the flecks of matching color in the curtains. Oh how the gays pride themselves on one a spectacularly designed home.

Right? “Well, same-sex couples seem to infuse that,” Pombo says.

— Rich Lopez

For more information, visit HGTV.com/on-tv/be-on-HGTV

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 4, 2011.

—  John Wright

Concert Notice: Joan as Police Woman to play Club Dada in April

The last time I wrote about Joan as Police Woman, she opened for Rufus Wainwright back in November 2009. I can’t say she impressed me much, but whatevs. I will say that I’ve gone to listen to some of her recordings and am quickly getting on board. Just in time too because the indie music lady comes to Dallas on her own playing at the thankfully reborn Club Dada in Deep Ellum. And come to find out, she plays for our team — we think.

Trish Bendix over at AfterEllen wrote up this piece last month where Joan Wasser (yes, the same Joan) apparently told Bendix she’s bi:

It might not surprise you, then, that Joan is queer. “Surprise” only because you might know she famously dated Jeff Buckley before he tragically drowned in 1997, a fact that likely haunts her in every discussion of her musical career. But there is no trace of her discussing her sexuality, which she once told me a few years ago was not-so-straight.

After she’d written me (via MySpace, remember that?) to let me know she was bisexual (after I’d inquired, mind you — gaydar in action), she gave me her publicist’s contact information so that I could set up an interview. I was denied, unfortunately, which is (also unfortunately) part of the job when it comes to being from the gay press. But upon hearing some music from Joan’s new album, I knew I had to try again. And this time, she had a new publicist, who, like Joan, wasn’t going to position her as something she’s not.

We’re used to that game of nebulous orientation. It’s just something we like to point out. Really, I’m just hoping she brings along her entourage from “The Magic” video to the show. Right??

Spune presents Joan as Police Woman at Club Dada, 2720 Elm St. April 29 at 10 p.m. $10. Click here for tickets.

—  Rich Lopez

A Super Bowl-sized closet

Esera Tuaolo, far left, Roy Simmons, second from left, and Dave Kopay, far right, are the only three retired NFL players ever to come out as gay. Brian Sims, second from right, is the only active NCAA player ever to come out. (Kevin Thomas/Dallas Voice)

Gay ex-players on how and when someone in NFL will finally come out

JOHN WRIGHT | Online Editor
wright@dallasvoice.com

With a combined 106 players on the rosters of the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers, it’s all but certain that a few participants in Super Bowl XLV will be gay or bisexual.

Needless to say, though, when the two teams take the field at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington on Sunday, Feb. 6, we won’t know who those players are.

In the 91-year history of the National Football League, not a single active player has come out.

And only three former players have come out after retiring from the NFL — Dave Kopay in 1975, Roy Simmons in 1992, and Esera Tuaolo in 2002.

“What I find kind of disappointing is that sports seems to be the last bastion,” said Howard Bragman, the famous gay publicist who specializes in helping athletes and celebrities come out. “We even have seemingly won the military.

“I think the fans’ attitudes are changing,” said Bragman, whose clients have included Tuaolo and John Amaechi, the former professional basketball player who came out in 2007. “I think it’s all going to change, but we’re not there. We’ve scratched the surface of progress. We have an awful long way to go.”

Bragman said he believes one reason why no NFL player has come out is that it would put the person in physical danger on the field.

“I pity the guy who’s the first NFL player to come out,” Bragman said. “I think there are some vindictive people in the league.”

Although an out player’s teammates might rally around him, especially if he’s popular and has been around a while, he would run the risk of cheap shots from opposing teams, Bragman said.

“In the NFL you could shoot somebody and you’re probably not going to be hated as much as if you came out,” he said. “I think it’s really one of the last places that we have to fight homophobia and we have to fight a lot of myths and a lot of stereotypes, when these Neanderthals say things like, ‘Oh, I wouldn’t want to shower with one.’ It’s like, have we ever heard a story of a gay man attacking a straight man in the shower? I don’t think so. It’ just crazy.”

Still, Bragman and others say they see signs of progress.

Anti-gay comments from NFL players, once seemingly condoned, now draw discipline from NFL teams, and sometimes condemnation from others in the league.

A few straight NFL players, such as linebacker Scott Fujita of the Cleveland Browns (formerly of the New Orleans Saints), have spoken out publicly in support of LGBT equality.

But even so, Bragman said he believes the first NFL player to come out will do so involuntarily.

“I don’t think the first person who comes out in the NFL is going to come out pretty,” Bragman said. “I think the first person who comes out in the NFL is going to be outed, because we live in such a transparent world, and there’s going to be a picture that comes out or something like that that happens, as opposed to someone goes, ‘Hey, I’m gay.’”

Bragman noted there are no out players in pro baskeball, hockey or baseball, either, but he said he expects that to change soon.

“Within five years we’ll have two or three out men’s players in one of the major sports,” he predicted.

Others, meanwhile, believe the first openly gay NFL player will be someone who came out in high school or college.

Brian Sims, who came out while he was a team captain for the Division II football team at Bloomberg (Pa.) University in 2000, remains the only known active NCAA player to have done so.

“The first [NFL] player who comes out is going to be a Jackie Robinson,” Sims said, referring to the first black major league baseball player. “I think they’re going to be famous. I think they’re going to be a millionaire. But it will probably be somebody in college that was out and is just too good to ignore, which means probably one of the
skill positions.

“He’ll be too good not to draft, and a team like Miami, a team like New York … Somebody like that will pick him up proudly and say: ‘Yeah, you know what? We’ve got a built-in fan base just for this player alone.’” Sims said. “And it will be overwhelming how supportive people in the league will be.”

Sims, a defensive tackle who was universally accepted by his teammates when he came out, is now a Philadelphia-based attorney who specializes in LGBT civil rights.

Sims frequently speaks on the issue of homophobia in sports to athletes and students on college campuses.

He said he’s encouraged by the fact that there are out athletes in some sports on every campus he’s visited. And while none of them are football players, he says he knows gay football players at both the collegiate and pro levels.

“Some of them are living very closeted lives, very afraid of the repercussions,” Sims said. “Some of them are able to live relatively out lives in big cities …
“There are [NFL] players I know who are out, who have partners, and they’re able to be out with friends and with family. … They don’t sneak off once a month with their partner.”

But Sims, who believes a gay NFL player would represent a huge milestone for LGBT equality, said he doesn’t expect the players he knows to come out publicly anytime soon.

“I wish they would,” he said. “I’m one of the people that if you’re a closeted gay football player in this county, I’m one of the people that you shoot a message to. You would be amazed if you saw the amount of, ‘Hey, do you mind if I share something with you?’ kind of e-mails that I get.”

Tuaolo, 42, who played with five different NFL teams in nine years, said he knows firsthand why gay players in the NFL don’t come out.

It’s “the fear of working your ass off all your life to get where you’re at, and then just to know you could lose it all,” said Tuaolo, a defensive lineman who played in the Super Bowl for the Atlanta Falcons in 1999.

“I was afraid to type in the word ‘gay’ in college in a computer, because I thought it would come back to me,” Tuaolo said. “It’s the fear that you live in, it’s the anxiety that you live in, it’s the hurt that you live in when you’re in the closet. I didn’t know of all these organizations that are so supportive in the gay community. You kind of live on this island.

“When I was in the closet, all I saw was the people who didn’t support us,” Tuaolo added. “All I heard was the people who didn’t support us.”

Tuaolo, who now lives in Minneapolis, said he’s been amazed by the support he’s received since coming out.

He also said he believes coming out in the NFL would be much easier now than just 10 short years ago.

“The reason being, everybody knows a gay person,” said Tuaolo, a frequent speaker at both colleges and Fortune 500 companies. “Ninety-nine percent of people raise their hands when I ask, ‘Do you know a gay person?’

“If a gay athlete comes out while he’s still playing now, I think a lot of his teammates will have to answer to their families, because all of them know a gay person,” he said.
Tuaolo, who hid his partner from teammates while in the NFL, is the father of adopted twins — a boy and a girl — who are now 10.

“It’s great to take my son to the [Minnesota Vikings] game and everybody knows,” he said. “It’s an amazing feeling to get that support from people.”

But in a sign that homophobia is still pervasive in sports, Tuaolo acknowledged that he’s dating a semi-pro baseball player who isn’t out to his team.

“We’re out to our friends and our family, but not out to his teammates,” he said. “I know how it is and stuff. When he’s comfortable and he’s ready to tell his teammates, perfect.”

Kopay, 68, now retired from a post-NFL career in sales, said he’s convinced there are gay players on every NFL team.

But Kopay, who played in the NFL from 1964-72, came out in 1975 and wrote a best-selling biography in 1977, isn’t overly disappointed that no active NFL player has come out in the 36 years since he did so.

“How many hundreds of years did it take the black folks to get the civil rights law passed?” Kopay said. “Look at the progress we’ve made.”

A one-time Army Reservist, Kopay said he “cried like a baby” when “don’t ask don’t tell” was repealed late last year.

Also last year, Kopay attended the Super Bowl as a guest of Indianopolis Colts assistant coach Howard Mudd, his former teammate.

Kopay said he got a warm welcome from players and coaches during the trip, but it was also bittersweet knowing that anti-gay bias likely prevented him from following the same path as Mudd.

“Certainly I would have loved to have been a coach,” Kopay said. “It was painful for me, because it reminded me of my lack of doing what I always really wanted to do, but never got a chance to do.”

Kopay now lives in Seattle near his alma mater, the University of Washington, where he’s been named one of the 100 most influential graduates in the school’s first 100 years — largely because of his impact on gay rights (although he was also an All-American running back).

Kopay doesn’t travel or speak publicly as often as he used to, and he recalled one occasion last fall when he was invited to Arizona State University. Kopay said the ongoing gay youth suicide crisis weighed so heavily on his mind that he had to cancel the trip.

“It was so painful to think about, how there’s still been so little progress,” Kopay said. “I just got feeling so blue and angry that I couldn’t get my words out when I started reading and practicing delivering my speech. It brought me back to a place — it brought the anger in me.”

For Kopay, it’s difficult to ignore the fact that if LGBT youth had a professional athlete to look up to, they’d be less likely to give up hope. But he also said he’s comforted by the thousands of e-mails he’s received from people he’s inspired in other professions.

“It’s almost like I gave them permission to be who they were,” Kopay said. “It’s daunting to think about that, but it happened, and I’m really pleased that it happened. It’s incredible. That’s what gives me a sense of purpose in life, and a sense of happiness.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Feb. 4, 2011.

—  John Wright

How many tix were really sold to canceled gay Super Bowl concert? Under 100, publicist says

Good thing this didn’t happen with the gays under there. (From WFAA)

Fewer than 100 tickets — but more than 13 — had been sold to the gay Super Bowl concert originally planned for tonight at the Cotton Bowl, according to a publicist for the event.

“There were less than 100 but glad we canceled because most of the artists’ flights were canceled due to weather,” publicist Ariana Hajibashi said in an e-mail late Wednesday, in response to a question about how many tickets had been sold for the first night of the XLV Party, which was to feature the Village People, Lady Bunny and Cazwell.

Instant Tea had reported, based on a statement by Hajibashi, that only 13 tickets were sold. However, she later said that was inaccurate.

In other XLV Party news, it looks like the now-two-night event has been moved indoors, to the Fair Park Coliseum, after a tent at the Cotton Bowl collapsed was taken down more quickly than expected due to the weather.

—  John Wright

CORRECTION: Publicist says more than 13 tickets were sold to canceled gay Super Bowl concert

We received the below message marked “URGENT” late last night from Ariana Hajibashi, publicist for the this weekend’s XLV Party at the Cotton Bowl. Hajibashi was responding to our post Monday about the cancellation of the first night of the party, which was geared toward the LGBT community. In our post, we reported that Hajibashi said the Thursday night concert — featuring the Village People, Lady Bunny and Cazwell — was canceled because only 13 (yes, 13) tickets had been sold. But she now says that’s inaccurate:

“I appreciate the story on XLV Party but I wanted to let you know that the 13 tickets number you quoted me saying is not correct,” she wrote. “When speaking with you, I was giving you an example, just threw a number out there. We definitely sold tickets but not enough to entice us to continue with the event as scheduled. If you could please make that correction, I’d appreciate it.”

Done, but how many tickets were actually sold then? We’ve responded to Hajibashi with this very question, and we’ll update if we get a response.

—  John Wright

Organizers cancel gay-themed Super Bowl concert at Cotton Bowl after only 13 tickets sold

The big gay Super Bowl concert planned for the Cotton Bowl on Thursday night has been canceled due to poor ticket sales, according to Ariana Hajibashi, publicist for the now-two-night XLV Party

Hajibashi said only 13 tickets had been sold for Thursday night’s concert featuring Lady Bunny, the Village People and Cazwell, which was marketed specifically to the LGBT community.

“Our Friday and Saturday are packed, but Thursday didn’t sell anything,” Hajibashi said. “I understand that everybody in Dallas is a last-minute ticket buyer, but unfortunately with only 13 tickets sold four days out, we couldn’t invest an additional $100,000 dollars. We couldn’t have a 6,000-square-foot space with 100 people in it. It kind of makes us sad because we were really trying to do an event for the GLBT community. Everybody else is focused on the sports angle and things like that, so we’re disappointed that we didn’t get any attention.”

Hajibashi said cold weather had nothing to do with the cancellation, because the tent over the Cotton Bowl will be heated. She said organizers thought they had a great lineup that would appeal to the gay community.

The XLV Party is still on for Friday and Saturday nights, and tickets are now as low as $59 per night for a limited time. As we mentioned earlier, Outtakes Dallas is giving away tickets.

A full press release is after the jump.

—  John Wright

100 gay bachelors stick to the wall and qualify for Out Magazine’s ‘Most Eligible’ list

Over on Out Magazine‘s website, they posted a contest where readers can vote on the top 10 from their 100 Most Eligible Gay Bachelors slideshow. I’m glad to see they didn’t just stick with cardboard hotties ages 21-25, but their selection is a bit baffling. The list is heavy on L.A. and N.Y. players, which makes it somewhat two-dimensional and bugs me the most. But after scrolling through the pics, it just felt like Out started throwing names and whatever stuck was included.

I appreciated selections like Precious director Lee Daniels and Woodpigeon’s hottie frontman Mark Hamilton, pictured, but I hardly expected to see the likes of this guy or this person on the list. I get the impression that if you live in New York or Los Angeles, are gay, single, famous and have a fabulous job and/or a publicist, you made the list. If you look really close, they even included Out staff members.

OK, so they are doing this for Valentine’s Day, when the top 10 will be revealed, and thus the more everyman types weren’t going to be included. Still, I figure there are men from the flyover states who more than qualify for the list — not to mention from all over the world, and some of them aren’t designers or actors. Clearly I’m a cynic, but whatever.

But I am curious who the local most eligible bachelors (and bachelorettes are). If Out were looking at Dallas folk, who would you include in the list?

—  Rich Lopez

Person of Interest in Hollywood Publicist Murder Kills Himself

RONNI CHASEN X390 (GETTY) | ADVOCATE.COMA person of interest in the killing of Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen fatally shot himself Wednesday night after being approached for questioning by police in the lobby of a Los Angeles hotel.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  admin

A note on gay Pride — in and out of the community

I had an annoying conversation this morning.

A publicist for a troupe we (let’s put it this way) “recently profiled” called to ask for a change online to the story: Seems like we referred in the headline to the person we interviewed as “gay.” She wanted it removed.

“I’m sorry — is that not true?” I asked.

“No, it’s true. He’s gay.  He would just prefer you not mention it.”

The conversation continued like this for a long time.

Now, I’m happy to correct errors, especially ones caused by us. But this person was pitched to me as the “gay head of this troupe,” and I assigned the story accordingly. If he had not been gay … well, let’s just say the troupe was not on my radar enough such that I would have been all that interested in the story without a hook, an angle. That was his.

Part of the mission of this newspaper is to draw our readers (many of whom are straight) to what’s going on in and by the gay community. Sometimes it’s homophobes attacking us and our rights. Sometimes it’s our allies who embrace us for who we are and treat up as equals. Sometimes it’s just celebrities who have an interesting perspective on their gay fans. Sometimes it’s openly gay people who are victimized by bigots, or leaders who step up to improve the lot of the community.

But a lot of the time, it’s just ordinary gay folks doing something out in the world we think people might want to know about. A trans woman who continues to be a personal trainer. A musician who wants to save the Great American Songbook. An auto mechanic who runs a garage and offers his gay clientele a friendly environment. An actor who steals the show in a national tour of a terrible musical. A museum curator who brings his unique perspective to a major art museum. Maybe being gay doesn’t directly affect what they do too much. But maybe it does. And it’s good to have a sense of pride knowing the vast landscape of opportunities out there — and that being openly gay, bi or trans is not a hindrance to success.

So when someone who is gay — and claims to be out — asks me to hide that fact … well, it angers me. You don’t need to do an interview with me. You don’t need to discuss your sexuality if you do agree to the interview. You don’t even need to be gay for me to write about you. But don’t come to me with the pitch that our readers might be interested in reading about you and then leap back in the closet. Because there are a lot of people out there proud to be called gay. I’m one of them.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones